TIM 'RIPPER' OWENS On His Time With JUDAS PRIEST: 'I Definitely Had The Talent To Be In There And Do It'
October 11, 2022
Tim "Ripper" Owens says that he "definitely had the talent" to sing for JUDAS PRIEST.
Owens joined PRIEST in 1996 after being discovered when the band's drummer was given a videotape of him performing with the PRIEST cover band BRITISH STEEL. JUDAS PRIEST at the time was seeking a replacement for Rob Halford, who has since rejoined the band.
Owens recorded two studio albums with JUDAS PRIEST — 1997's "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition" — before Halford's return to the group.
Asked in a new interview with the Mike Nelson Show if he felt any pressure from the rest of PRIEST and management to deliver the goods, Owens said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I didn't. I was pretty confident with my singing. People might not like the records, but then again it's JUDAS PRIEST and they always changed and people didn't like every record they did anyways. But all I had to do for myself was sing like me. And if people didn't accept me, they didn't accept me. They wouldn't have not accepted me because of vocal talent, because I definitely had the talent to be in there and do it. But the band always made me feel comfortable and I always knew that I could do it."
Owens also talked about the reluctance from some PRIEST fans to accept a new singer following Halford's departure from the group.
"I had these guys in New Orleans that would always have their back to me," he recalled. "We played the House Of Blues, and we probably did three shows there. They always had their back to me and were flipping me off. But I didn't have a ton of it. You didn't have social media as much then at all, really — you didn't have the Blabbermouths and your people who know it all. Nowadays you've got all the fans who tell you… they say all these bad things about you and they don't even know how to put a sentence together, really, yet they're trying to bring you down. But at that time I had some people, but I always seem to win 'em over at the concerts. 'Cause if you come to the concerts and you don't think I can sing the songs, then all right, but… I remember when I won them over. It took about three concerts. We were doing 'Diamonds And Rust'. And I finished 'Diamonds And Rust', and they finally turned around and went like this [flashes devil's horns hand gesture]. And I'm, like, 'Okay. I finally won them over.'"
Tim told The Metal Voice in 2016 that he "wouldn't have quit JUDAS PRIEST." He clarified: "I wanted to leave JUDAS PRIEST, 'cause I had already recorded the ICED EARTH record ['The Glorious Burden']. So I wanted out of JUDAS PRIEST, 'cause I wanted to do other stuff, but I never would have quit. 'Cause I was great friends with them, and I was the singer of JUDAS PRIEST. But to make more money and to do more things, I had to branch out and do other things."
In a separate interview, Owens defended himself against accusations by some JUDAS PRIEST fans of changing the band's sound to a more brutal, modern direction on "Jugulator". He explained: "Every record JUDAS PRIEST puts out is different. I mean, 'Nostradamus' sounds nothing like JUDAS PRIEST ever wrote, ever. 'Turbo' sounded nothing like JUDAS PRIEST. You know, JUDAS PRIEST changes. They wrote 'Painkiller', and 'Jugulator' was a transition; it was kind of following what was going on."
He continued: "You've gotta remember, JUDAS PRIEST always went with the times a little bit. Glenn [Tipton, guitar] started playing arpeggios. PANTERA was really big [at the time]. [On the] 'Painkiller' [tour], they toured with PANTERA; PANTERA opened for JUDAS PRIEST. 'Painkiller' was a heavy record, and this was a natural progression. The difference is I probably had a few more different layers to my voice that they could tap into — some deeper, death metal kind of undertones to do backups and some different types of voices that they might be able to try. But it was JUDAS PRIEST."
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